The Healing and Reconciliation Seed Fund offers grants up to $5,000 for Presbyterian groups that are committed to building relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. Since this fund was created in 2006, it has supported a variety of reconciliation initiatives across Canada.
The current application deadline for the Healing and Reconciliation Seed Fund is Friday, March 15, 2019. Download the Funding Criteria to learn more about the Seed Fund and the application process. If you are considering applying to the Healing and Reconciliation Seed Fund, contact Katharine Sisk (ext. 250) or Carragh Erhardt (ext. 278) to discuss your initiative.
Advice for Getting Started
- It is often more sustainable in to develop relationships on a local level. If you are unsure how to get started, consider contacting a nearby Friendship Centre, Indigenous community group or service organization.
- You may wish to start with a small fellowship gathering to begin forming relationships.
- Indigenous and non-Indigenous people should be involved in planning these initiatives. Letters stating support and involvement from Indigenous and non-Indigenous partners should be included with your application.
- Initiatives may focus on learning about local history and Indigenous culture, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action or other topics of interest to Indigenous people in your community.
- Larger initiatives may involve partnering with several church groups, other faith communities or community organizations.
- Funds could be used to pay a portion of event costs such as venue rental (if necessary), food or honoraria for speakers/workshop leaders.
- What hopes or goals do your group and your partners have for the project? Think about how you will assess your progress throughout the project. Some hopes are simple to track (i.e. number of participants). Relationship-centred hopes will likely need opportunities for deeper reflection (i.e. sharing circles or written feedback).
- Follow-up grants are available to support subsequent initiatives to take steps beyond the initial project. As you plan your initiative, have conversations with the Indigenous people involved in this project about what kinds of activities they think would be helpful to continue deepening the relationship.
Examples of Past Initiatives
Kingston Community Reconciliation Feast
In 2015, St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Kingston, Ont. partnered with the Katarokwi Grandmothers Council and KAIROS to plan a community feast. The feast, held on October 21, was an opportunity for Indigenous and non-Indigenous people to come together for an evening of food, fellowship and music. During a time of sharing, one of the grandmothers and Jennifer Henry (Executive Director, KAIROS) spoke about issues facing Indigenous communities including violence against Indigenous women and girls. Over 180 people attended the community feast. Following the event, one of the members of the Grandmothers Council wrote to the Rev. Dr. Andrew Johnston (minister at St. Andrew’s PC) saying “Andrew, you lit a special fire when you reached out to the Grandmothers to join in this Feast. Your openness rekindled the flames of inclusivity in many, many hearts last night.”
Interfaith Workshops on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
As a member of the Calgary Interfaith Council, The Rev. Mark Tremblay (minister of Knox Presbyterian Church, Calgary, Alta.) served on the planning team for a workshop on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples that took place in January 2016. The workshop was facilitated by Doreen Spence. Doreen is from Saddle Lake Cree Nation. She worked with the international team that drafted the Declaration. This workshop was a step towards discerning how faith groups may meaningfully share and implement the principles outlined in the UN Declaration (TRC Call to Action no. 48). The Healing and Reconciliation Seed Fund supported the cost of filming the workshop so that the footage could be used by others who want to learn about the UN Declaration.
In May 2017, members of The Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul in Montreal, Que. were involved in planning a similar conference in partnership with Anglican, Catholic, United and Quaker colleagues. Representatives from other denominations and faiths were also present. One of the speakers at the Montreal conference was Kenneth Deer, a Mohawk elder from Kahnawake who was involved in drafting the UN Declaration.
Friendship, Caring and Sharing
On July 20, 2016, youth from St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church (Southampton, Ont.) and Wesley United Church (Saugeen First Nation, Ont.) came together for a day of shared experiences including Ojibwe language lessons with Marilyn Roote. Other activities that day included a tour of the Indigenous exhibit at the Bruce County Museum and Cultural Centre and a workshop on making dreamcatchers. In the evening, participants enjoyed a barbeque at Wesley United Church with members of Saugeen First Nation. The day of learning and sharing together was so positive that St. Andrew’s applied for follow-up funding to host a series of three workshops for adults in July 2017 to continue the partnership with Wesley United Church and Marilyn. During the second Seed Fund initiative, Marilyn was invited to share teachings about Ojibwe culture and language during the first two workshops. The final event in this series was a screening of Secret Path, which tells the story of Chanie Wenjack, a 12-year old boy who died of exposure after running away from Presbyterian-run Cecilia Jeffrey Residential School in 1966.